Top 10

Top 10 Dangerous Cities to Live in West Virginia



West Virginia, known for its rich history and stunning Appalachian landscapes, also grapples with crime in several of its cities. This article delves into the top 10 dangerous cities in West Virginia, based on recent crime statistics and historical data, to provide a comprehensive understanding of the safety landscape in these areas.

1. Beckley: The Coal City’s Crime Dilemma

Beckley, with a population of 26,286, has historically been a leader in the coal mining industry. However, its crime rate is 45.7 per 1,000 residents, making it the most dangerous city in the state. In Beckley, the chances of becoming a victim of crime are 1 in 18.

2. South Charleston: Small City, Big Crime Rates

South Charleston, a small city with just over 13,000 residents, experiences crime rates 103% higher than the national average. The chances of becoming a victim of property crime here are 1 in 21.

3. Charleston: Capital City’s Crime Concerns

Charleston, the state capital, faces significant crime problems, with a violent crime rate of 63.4 per 1,000 people. Property crime occurs at a rate of 95 per every 1,000 people, making the chances of becoming a victim 1 in 28.

4. Martinsburg: Economic Shifts and Rising Crime

Martinsburg, with a population of 28,835, has a crime rate 75% higher than other U.S. cities of its size. The city reported 83 violent crimes and 725 property crimes last year.

5. Morgantown: University Town’s Crime Challenges

Morgantown, home to West Virginia University, has a poverty rate of 38%. The town, with a population of 30,300, reported 94 violent crimes and 798 property crimes last year.

6. Huntington: High Crime on the Ohio River

Huntington, with a population of 49,000, experiences the highest crime rate in the United States for a city of its size, at 42 per 1,000 residents. The town reported 320 violent crimes and over 1,600 property crimes last year.

7. Wheeling: Historical City with Present-Day Crimes

Wheeling, once a bustling industrial city, now has a crime rate where the chances of being a victim of violent crime are 1 in 103 and 1 in 60 for property crime.

8. Parkersburg: Economic Decline and Crime

Parkersburg, facing a significant crime problem post-industrial decline, reported 364 violent crimes and 4,361 property crimes per 100,000 people.

9. Clarksburg: A Once-Prosperous City’s Crime Rates

Clarksburg, once in the running to become the state capital, now has a violent crime rate of 437 per 100,000 and a property crime rate of 3,843 per 100,000.

10. Fairmont: The Pepperoni Roll Capital’s Crime Issues

Fairmont, known for inventing the pepperoni roll, reported 463 violent crimes and 1,482 property crimes per 100,000 people.

Crime Trends in West Virginia

The crime trends in these cities reflect a mix of socio-economic challenges, including poverty, unemployment, and the decline of traditional industries. The impact of these factors is evident in the higher crime rates in both small towns and larger cities.

Safety Tips for Visiting West Virginia

When visiting West Virginia, it’s important to be vigilant, especially in areas known for higher crime rates. Ensure to travel in groups, secure your vehicle, and avoid displaying valuables. Staying informed about the local crime situation can also help in planning a safe visit.


Understanding the crime dynamics in these top 10 dangerous cities is crucial for residents and visitors alike. While West Virginia is celebrated for its natural beauty and historical significance, acknowledging and navigating these urban safety concerns is essential for a secure experience in the state.